Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D – Video Review (Nintendo 3DS)

I loved the hell out of Donkey Kong Country Returns when it came out on the Wii back in 2010. It was a brilliant update to one of my favorite platforming series that mixed in just enough new with the old to create an original, but familiar experience. But the very first time I played the game, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why isn’t this on the Nintendo 3DS? After all, one of the key innovations to the game was the amount of interplay between the foreground and background. Whether it was dodging the tentacles of a monstrous Octopus or blasting into the background for some distant platforming, there was a level of actual depth there that I had never seen before in a side-scrolling platformer.

And I could only imagine how fantastic it would look on a 3D screen with an actual sense of depth. That is, until now, because Donkey Kong Country Returns returns again, only now in pocketable form in eye-catching 3D on the Nintendo 3DS And it’s almost as great as I imagined. Of course, everything that was so fantastic about the original is recreated here nearly perfectly. The level design is still brilliant. There’s still a huge amount of variety between levels, so much so that I even forgot about some of the gameplay mechanics! And of course the game still looks beautiful–seriously, it looks practically identical to the Wii one Now it doesn’t just recreate the original experience, but builds upon it with a few new additions Of course, chief among those is that the entire game is now rendered in 3D–and it looks every bit as good as I hoped Adding a fantastic sense of depth and weight to every level, especially as you find yourself blasting between layers. It’s hard to believe that a game which wasn’t originally designed with a 3D screen in mind actually makes better use of it than every other 3DS platformer that I’ve played.

Beyond the 3D, the game also includes of 8 brand new levels. These levels play just as well as the originals and are a nice addition, even if they don’t really do much particularly new. Though I was slightly disappointed they weren’t a little challenging, seeing as they come at the end of the game. Finally, the game introduces a brand new mode, fittingly called New Mode. Essentially, it’s an easy mode that gives both Donkey and Diddy an extra damage-point, while also adding new items to Cranky Kong’s shop that make the game notably easier, such as a barrel that allows you to bring back Diddy at any time, or a green balloon that’ll save you from a fall. And this is a welcome addition seeing as the original Donkey Kong Country Returns is widely regarded as an extremely challenging game, though the Original mode is here too for you purists. However, those purists might find that the Original Mode is actually even more difficult than the Wii version for two unfortunate reasons. For one, the game now only runs at 30-frames per second instead of the original’s 60.

Now if you haven’t played the original, then this probably isn’t a big deal, but I did find it made the game just slightly less responsive and actually made it a little trickier to nail some of those precision-jumps. In addition, the game also suffers from some occasional and noticeable slowdown that wasn’t in the Wii version at all. I It never drops by much, but it’s enough to throw off your timing–especially in the mine cart levels–which are already challenging enough Don’t get me wrong, it never reaches anything close to unplayable, but it is a letdown compared to the buttery smooth Wii original. I also had just a couple of issues with the controls themselves. For instance, in the original game you would shake the controller to roll, which is now handled with a button press–and that’s fine. But if you want to roll repeatedly–or charge with Rambi, you now have to tap the button repeatedly, which feels far less natural than before, especially because it makes managing the jump button at the same time a little awkward Furthermore, though the game supports both the Circle Pad and Control pad, you have to access the options screen to switch them.

And doing so also inexplicably changes the layout of some of the other buttons, which is very confusing. I’m really not sure why you can’t just switch between the two without having to access a many But despite these minor shortcomings, this is still a fantastic game, and if you haven’t played the original, you truly are in for a treat, especially with the new levels and 3D display. But the big question of course is, is it worth picking up if you played the original? And in my opinion, I can’t say that it is. The new levels are neat, but there’s not enough of them–nor enough new to them–to warrant an entire playthrough. And the New Mode really won’t be of much use to those who’ve already finished the game.

And in my opinion, the game does play better–even if slightly–on the Wii. But again, this is still an excellent port and anyone who likes platforms and hasn’t played the original would be well-advised to check out what is, in my opinion, one of the best platformers ever made All in all, I’m giving DKCR 3D Stars out of 5, dropping it only slightly from the perfect score of the original because it doesn’t play quite as well Thanks for watching and make sure to stay tuned to GameXplain.com for more reviews and other things gaming too

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